Sandusky Accuser Would Testify, Lawyer Says
www.nytimes.com – Ben Andreozzi, a Pennsylvania lawyer representing one of eight alleged victims in the Penn State sexual child abuse case, called Jerry Sandusky a “coward” on Wednesday and said that Sandusky’s recent comments on television had emboldened his client to pursue sexual assault charges against Sandusky.
“Mr. Sandusky suggested in some of his comments about the victims that maybe people were backing off,” Andreozzi said in a telephone interview from his office in Harrisburg. “My client heard that and has dug in his heels. He is feeling more comfortable about going through with this. The comments maybe backfired. They have caused victims to be more motivated to testify against him.”
Andreozzi said his client, now in his 20s, met Sandusky through Sandusky’s charity, the Second Mile. He said he had been around Sandusky for several years and was assaulted multiple times. Andreozzi has also advised other alleged victims in the case and said he was meeting with another potential victim this week.
Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach, has been charged with 40 counts related to sexual abuse of boys over a period of 15 years. He said he was innocent of all charges in a telephone interview with NBC’s Bob Costas on Monday. His lawyer, Joseph Amendola, indicated there were doubts about his accusers.
“They have other people who are saying they saw something, but they don’t have actual people saying, ‘This is what Jerry did to me,’ ” Amendola said. “We’re working to find those people, and when the time comes, and if we are able to do that, we think this whole case will change dramatically.”
Andreozzi, who also issued a statement Wednesday, said his client would testify that he was “severely sexually assaulted” by Sandusky.
“I am appalled by the fact that Mr. Sandusky has elected to revictimize these young men at a time when they should be healing,” Andreozzi said. “He’s being a coward by refusing to admit to his culpability. Sexual assault victims can begin the healing process if there’s an acknowledgment of fault. Mr. Sandusky could assist in that process and instead he is putting these young men through it again.”
Andreozzi said he had talked with his client after listening to Sandusky’s televised telephone interview.
“He was absolutely more ready to follow through with this afterward,” Andreozzi said. “He wants him to know he fully intends to testify he was severely sexually assaulted by Mr. Sandusky.”
Andreozzi added: “I have my finger on the pulse of this case. I don’t know of any existing assault victims changing their story or refusing to testify. To the contrary, others are actually coming forward.”
Andreozzi, who has specialized in child sexual abuse cases, said he was upset that Penn State had not reached out to any of the victims.
“They could have a victim-centric approach to this but it appears they have been in a face-saving mode,” Andreozzi said. “They could be proactive and offer to pay for counseling and let the victims participate in the rebuilding of the school. They could help to adopt policies and procedures that will prevent sexual assaults on the campus.
“This is a situation that is only going to grow. When I represent a sexual abuse victim we start with one or maybe two clients, but as the ball gets rolling forward more victims almost always come forward.”
ACTING A.D. IS NAMED David M. Joyner, an orthopedic physician who has been a member of Penn State’s board of trustees since 2000, was named the university’s acting athletic director after Tim Curley took a leave of absence in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal that has engulfed the campus.
Mark Sherburne, who had been the interim athletic director, is returning to his role as associate athletic director.
Joyner, a former Nittany Lions football player and wrestler, has worked with the United States Olympic Committee; he was the head physician for the United States teams at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France.
While he serves as the athletic director, Joyner will suspend his role on the board of trustees. MARK VIERA